We are a family who loves heat. My husband and I are content with high temperatures, and my kids seem to play through summer without ever complaining about being too hot. We are very fortunate that all five of us enjoy the heat, because most of our summer is spent on baseball fields. Because we are on fields with no shade almost every afternoon and night of the summer, I do try to find ways for my kids to save their energy before their games. If they are outside all day and then have to try for home runs and double plays for three hours at night, I’d have some exhausted kids. On game days in the summer, I can feel myself activating some of my “blizzard” mom skills. When we can’t spend a lot of time outside, I need to get creative inside so that we all keep our sanity.
My brilliant friend came up with this for her kids when they were younger. I stole the idea, and even my middle schooler had fun running the show. Depending on the age of your kids, you can use words or symbols to get them searching around the house. I make ten clues that lead them to blow pops by the end. I am an English teacher, so writing rhymes is my favorite part. Getting them from the kitchen to their closet goes something like this: “Your clothes hang here when they are clean, but boy is it messy. Have you seen?” They sprint up the stairs to the next hint. For early afternoon play, I hide the rhymes while they eat lunch, so they have no idea. It is so much fun to hear them work out the clues and sprint from one place to the other. In addition, as soon as the hunt is finished, they quickly start writing their own hints. Then I get to go on their scavenger hunt.
Screens Off, Cleaning On
I don’t know why, but my children love lists. On our last 105 degree game day, I really wanted to make sure my kids spent the afternoon soaking up the cool air. Our coaches tell our kids that they aren’t allowed to swim on game days, so on this day, we needed to stay inside. I made a list of chores and activities that they were supposed to accomplish in 1/2 an hour increments. Each task would help us tidy our house, and it only lasted for 30 minutes, so the activity held their attention for each ½ an hour chunk. I told them to act like I wasn’t there. I got some writing done, and they worked their way through the list. By the end, it was lunch time, and they had earned a decent ice cream cone from one of our local shops. There was something great about me removing myself from their tasks, and them working it out together. The power of the ½ an hour list baffles me, but everyone wins.
There is a way for our children to use their screens without losing brain cells. I often times have my children plan, write, and film their very own video. All ages can work together. My oldest is “too cool” and also a little bossy (I do love him, but middle school. Ahh!), so he loves the directing part of the video process. My daughter was made for the screen, and my middle loves planning and designing sets. Parents need to be there initially to help kids set up their writing plan, but pretty soon they get the hang of it and they are off on their own. From beginning to end this process is excellent. Once they have rehearsed one or two times, I allow them to grab a tablet to videotape. I try to limit the takes to five, and then we pop popcorn to watch their final show. I would recommend making sure they have a beginning, middle, and end and some sort of conflict to resolve, or this video could be pretty painful to watch at times 🙂 The kids are so proud when we all view it together, and parents earn a keepsake for embarrassing graduation and wedding videos.
Those are our beat the heat activities for this summer. Most of them are pretty painless, and with some planning, parents could even get a cleaner house out of the deal. What are your tips for staying cool? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, or blog.